Welcome to Planet Dan

I’m not sure what I want to do with Planet Dan. The Internet has changed a lot since 1999. If you ever wondered how Ghost Hill in Taverham got its name, or about Fairey Aviation in Stockport, Manchester – those pages are still here. Otherwise, it’s all a bit random, probably IT/geek related.


What I do for a living

Sometimes, this is me.

If your external hard drive stops working…

My aunt’s Lacie external hard drive failed/died a couple of weeks ago, she tried a local computer repair man but he couldn’t fix it. If you really, really need the files that are on the broken disk – they may still be recoverable…

The service you need is disaster or “data recovery” – try searching for data recovery service +your-location and see what turns up.

My aunt lives in Switzerland and couriered her drive to a company in Sheffield (we couldn’t find any service nearby that seemed to cater for smaller/home customers, and in reality sending the drive further afield isn’t going to make a big difference except for the courier cost). The people at ABC Data Recovery were very helpful and friendly, it took about a week but the data was successfully recovered.

I made a note of the company in case I ever need data recovery at my work or home: www.abcdatarecovery.co.uk

Starting out in survey design

My work is online surveys but the questionnaire below made its way home from school on Friday. I am so proud(!)… it has yes/no buttons and a little text box for the verbatim answer too.

First SurveyThe questions are:

  1. Did you have dominoes?
  2. What was your favourite toy? Write your favourite toy’s name here:
  3. Did you only play with your toy inside?
Tagged ,

Examples of great ‘info-graphics’ (data visualisation)

For work, I create online surveys and analyse data. Lots of data and after a while the results charts get a little … boring. Smashing magazine’s latest post Data Visualization and Infographics Resources has lots of great examples of alternatives to the humble bar chart or pie chart.

Trânsito 3 final (2007)

Would love to create executive summaries like this one above. I imagine it takes a lot of time (and some talent). My favourite screenshot from the Smashing magazine post is this:

$400 Million Club Infographic

It’s really very simple (fundamentally it’s just a bar chart underneath with nice graphics).

Tagged , ,

How much does a farmer earn for 1 chicken?

This question was a comment that was randomly posted on planetdan by a blog spammer, but I would be interested to know.

I’d also like to know how much milk a cow produces (so I just looked it up – some jersey cows at Punchards Farm in Rattlesden produce 20 litres/day [source]), and also how much the farmer gets paid and what it costs to look after and feed a cow…

Just curious. I shall tag this Chicken economics!

Tagged , , ,

Places to go in Norfolk with kids

There is a superb dinosaur park at Weston Longville, about 7 or 8 miles out of Norwich. I was really impressed by the dinosaur trail where we had to track down all the dinosaurs and collect stamps to earn the medal.

Dinosaurs in Norfolk!

We spent the whole day there (we took a packed lunch) – lots to do, the maze is a lot of fun, and there’s a huge adventure play area including a good area for toddlers too. Highly recommended.

The dinosaurs at Crystal Palace don’t quite compare.

Tagged , ,

Albert Wardle (1866-1936)

This page was first written in late 2000 – I’ve transferred it here for anyone ending up here hoping to find something about “Wardle” 4/8/09

Albert Wardle was my great grandfather, born 15-Jul-1866 in Kegworth (son of James Wardle 1839-1914) and married Sarah Jane Brentnall.  They had eight children:

  • Harold James born 9-Jan-1894
  • Eric Charles born 12-Oct-1896
  • Doris Mabel born 7-Mar-1898
  • Marjorie born 15-Apr-1900
  • Grace born Feb-1902 died 18-Apr-1905
  • Bernard Leslie born 29-Nov-1904
  • Frederick Cyril born 8-Oct-1907
  • Leonard Douglas born 2-Apr-1911

Albert went to London to manage a tea store in the 1880s. The marriage certificate shows Albert Wardle’s address as Farrant Avenue in Wood Green (N22 in North London today), but he moved to Kettering to manage Liptons before his first child, Harold, was born, and then bought a shop on the Market Place in the town.

In 1900, Albert went into business with Mr Jacquest to form Jacquest & Wardle – a haulage firm.

The horse and dray are standing outside Hawthorn Road School, Kettering (the school is still there today). Later, Albert Wardle used steam tractors – he is second on the right, working to move a redundant Midland Railway carriage to a site where the new owner used it as living accomodation.

Below: Albert, third from right, supervising his road steam tractor in Midland Road, Wellingborough. The picture was taken about 1912 where he was transporting a railway steam locomotive en route to Earls Barton ironstone quarry.


Wardle Bros Garage, Kettering

The photograph on the left was taken circa 1928. It’s a picture of my Grandad’s and Great Uncles’ garage on Stamford Road in Kettering (the brothers were Eric, Bernard and Len).

Wardle Bros garage opened in 1928, and became a dealer for Jowett cars in 1936. At the same time Great Uncle Harold was running a haulage company called Wardle & Keach.

The next photograph was taken in January 1950. The lady by the car was the secretary at the garage, Jean Lucy.In 1952 Wardle Bros changed over to selling Austin motors. Then in 1965 the garage was taken over by H. A. Saunders, and five years later Mann Egerton took over the business.

Today the garage is still there, although its incarnation is as Corby Motors, a Peugeot dealer (I think).

Fairey Aviation (factory in Stockport)

During the second world war my grandad moved to Stockport, near Manchester, where he worked for Fairey – the airplane manufacturer. With a little help from my dad I knew that there was a Fairey factory near Reddish in Stockport, and after a couple of google searches worked out it was actually in Heaton Chapel, but when I first started looking (around about 2001) that was as much as I could find.

Today, type Fairey Heaton Chapel into Google and … there are quite a few results (mostly repeating one other), although a couple of years after I first wrote up what I had found, George Nixon emailed me about his new website (a history of Levenshulme) where he has a very good history (and several photos) of the Fairey Aviation factory through the years.

Fairey Battle at RAF HendonMy grandad was an airframe fitter making/finishing off the wings on Barracudas – they were an all metal aircraft with an airframe clad with aluminium panels which were riveted on. I knew that the Fairey Battle was built at Heaton Chapel (so too the Fairey Fulmar) – although the Battle was only built up until 1940 (513 built in 1939, 218 built during 1940)*, but I don’t know if my grandad also worked on these (or what other planes he might have worked on).

* Source: Fairey Aircraft since 1915 (H.A. Taylor)

Left: is a Fairey Battle (the only Fairey aircraft at RAF Hendon in London).

Below is the fitting room in the factory at Fairey (not dated, via George Nixon and Stockport Heritage magazine). Maybe my grandad is in the photo…

VJ Day, 1945

This photograph was taken in Sunnyfield Rd, Heaton Mersey outside nos. 21 and 23 (click on photo to zoom in). We think the street party was for VJ Day (August 1945).

Back row
1st left – Len (grandfather)
2nd left partly obscured – Doris (grandaunt)
6th left – Geoff Marsh (1st cousin once removed)
7th left very obscured – Frank Marsh (granduncle)
3rd row
2nd left – Granny Wardle
2nd row
1st left – Richard (my Dad)
2nd left – Helen (aunt) on Richard’s left shoulder
3rd left – Brian Lowe (friend of Richard)
4th left – Sam Hall (later an ITN reporter)
Front row
7th left – Muriel Marsh (1st cousin once removed)

Except for christmas 1941 when they returned to Kettering, my grandad and his family remained in Heaton Mersey until 20 July 1947.

Tagged , , ,